BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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Sucked in to My Own Little World

I hardly know how to begin.tumblr_mbjyno3zyM1r5h04to1_500_large

I’ve written the first sentence and deleted it at least four times.

I’m ashamed. Embarrassed. Filled with doubts and fears.

Doubts that any of my dear readers are still around after I’ve more or less abandoned you. Afraid that I’ve damaged my own reputation by disappearing.

The flip side of that, of course, is the realization that there probably aren’t too many people (if any) who have actually noticed that the blog has gone quiet.

Oh sure, my personal Facebook friends are probably relieved that they haven’t had to scroll past my announcements over the past several days, but in terms of actually missing my ramblings, I don’t think there’s anyone out there who has been wondering what I’ve been up to. Still, I’m going to enlighten you.where have you been

Not much.

Naturally that’s not entirely true, but not much that’s particularly earth shattering.

I’ve been drawing into myself, and I don’t necessarily think that’s entirely a bad thing. I’ve been taking care of myself, eating well, and keeping up with my visits to the nutritionist. In fact I’m down almost twenty pounds over the last six weeks.

I’ve also been crazy busy at work, well until last Friday when my fall break began. There were report cards to prepare and parent-teacher conferences to hold and post-break lessons to plan, so it was a rough week. Still, it ended several days ago, so I suppose I could have gotten off Pinterest, closed the book I’m reading (Wild, by Cheryl Strayed), and started writing. Obviously I didn’t.

What I’ve done instead is immerse myself in the world of a high school student who is preparing to apply to college. It seems that our home life has become dominated by talk of SAT’s and college fairs, common apps and scholarship opportunities. Essays are being composed and websites are being scoured. We’re having lots of conversations about making choices and setting priorities. Today my son decided on the five universities he would like to apply to. I think he’s made good choices based on his interests, talents, disposition, and career goals. I’m proud of him. Any one of those five institutions will help him to achieve his goals, and I think he would be a good candidate for all of them.

Frankly, I’ve been having a little trouble with this phase of his life. His high school experience is completely different from mine. He doesn’t go to parties, he doesn’t drive, and I always know where he is. I’m grateful that he’s a much better behaved kid than I ever was, but I think it will make the inevitable separation that much more difficult. Frankly my parents were probably relieved when it was time for me to go away to college. I dread it with my son, but I know he’ll be ready. At least I hope he will. Still, it’s not going to be easy.


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Salad Days

"Super Foods" salad with about a gazillion ingredients.

“Super Foods” salad with about a gazillion ingredients.

I never actually understood that term. I think it means good times, right? As in, “ah, those were the salad days.” But I don’t really understand why. What’s so great about a salad?

Salads are a bunch of work. They takes lots of small bits of ingredients and toss them all together. All of those ingredients have their own needs, like the need for washing and cutting. It’s quite labor intensive, if you ask me, for not such a great reward. I don’t HATE salads. In fact there are several salads that I like a lot. Chipotle has a wonderful salad that packs in the veggies and protein and tastes great. So does Wildflower Bakery. In fact, most places that are salad friendly do, but the problem is that I usually want the OTHER good stuff that’s on their menus. Still, when I do order a salad, I usually enjoy it.

The issue is making salads at home. You have to buy all those different ingredients and by the time you’re done you have a massive salad fit for a crowd, or you have lots of leftover veggies. Either way it’s a pain in the neck. Thank goodness for Pinterest and the popularity of mason jar salads.

I was skeptical at first, but then I saw a few of my colleagues jump on the bandwagon, and they were eating delicious salads each day with just one prep session. I poked around a bit more on the internet and learned that, like everything else, there are different methods for prepping these salads. I decided to modify what I read and do it my way.

My own personal preference is to keep the dressing separate and add it when I’m ready to eat. I put the following pre-washed wide-mouth mason jars:

black beans (one can split, rinsed and drained)

Mexican style canned corn (one can split, rinsed)

sliced red pepper

chicken breast strips

lettuce and spinach to the top

This week I plan to add in sliced mushrooms. One week I had some leftover shredded cheddar, so I added that and it stayed good all week.

One day of prep is no problem. These salads are excellent for lunch, and they fill me up. Still, I’m not above purchasing a ready-made salad from the store, particularly if it has 27 different ingredients in it, like my “Super Foods” salad from Whole Foods. In the words of a famous internet meme, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”


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Leave the Elf Mommies Alone

In recent years a most polarizing phenomenon has swept this nation. It seems fairly innocent at first, but I assure you it is not. When you spend a few minutes thinking about it, you may begin to ask yourself some interesting moral questions. Then, when you read what others think about it, you may find yourself swayed by one camp or the other.

This trend dividing our nation? Why, the Elf on a Shelf, of course.1506007_10152987829068854_3392069320071825295_n

This little guy (or gal) didn’t exist until fairly recently, but he (for the sake of simplicity I’m going with a male elf) has certainly hit the big time. I can honestly say I’m glad I was unaware of him when my son was little, because I would have had to take sides.

What’s at stake? Well, a fair amount. There are elf do-ers, elf wannabes, and elf avoiders. Some of those avoiders are vehemently anti-elf, for a variety of reasons.

For the uninitiated (where have you been?) here’s the story, as I understand it. One of Santa’s little elves goes to live with a family during the Christmas season and while he’s there he spies on the kids of the house to make sure they’re being good. He regularly flies up to the North Pole to report on those kids. He also routinely gets into trouble while he’s visiting, usually when everyone else is sleeping..

Said elf is a creepy looking little guy who is easily pose-able and gets moved around the house and often into various crazy situations.

Now aside from the unpleasant fact that harboring a spying elf seems a lot like being forced to house an opposing army, it can end up being a lot of fun. IF it’s something you want to do. IF it’s something your kids would enjoy. IF you feel like you have the time, energy, and creativity. And if you do, why not?

Honestly, I don’t think I would have been an elf mommy if they had been around when my son was little, but who knows? Maybe I would have been swept up in it. Maybe my son would have asked why none of Santa’s elves came to live with us. Maybe I would have been intrigued by the whole mischief element. Maybe.

All I know is that it’s a good thing that Pinterest didn’t exist back then either. I was having enough feelings of inadequacy just watching HGTV every now and again, I didn’t need to be bomarded by images of everyone else’s perfect worlds.

I think that’s where some of the elf hate comes in. Oh sure, it’s kind of creepy that grownups are setting up mischief scenarios involving their elves while their kids are asleep, but so what? I think the so what is that those who aren’t doing it don’t want to feel badly about not doing it.

Holidays are crazy times. We hold on to old traditions, evaluate new ones, and decide which ones we want to adopt. The elf is a fun tradition for many families, and a collosal pain in the neck for others. If that’s the case for you, don’t do it. Elves fly away. Maybe yours was needed elsewhere. Maybe your child can behave without a doll checking up on her.

Many parents are irritated that they are being made to feel like they don’t do enough for their children because they don’t stay up half the night staging an elf kitchen disaster.a0a3e37aed14b36baea31d8a0d0a376a They forget to move the elf and wait until the kid is in the bathroom. To those parents, I say, don’t sweat it. Pack it up, put it away, and let the children know they have reached a new milestone, the time in their lives when they are expected to make good choices because they’re the correct ones, not because Santa has spies.

Opting out is perfectly okay. You are not the Joneses (or maybe you are, but you just don’t want to do it). No worries. Your kid will bounce back.

But what about the flip side? What about the parents (typically mommies from what I can tell) that obsess over the antics of these little elves? Is there really anything so awful about that? They’re expressing their creativity in a way that’s meant to delight their child (is it bad to guess that they only have one?). I like to think they are creative and quirky and fun. I’m not talking about the parents who try to scare their kids with threats of “No Christmas” or other such nonsense, I’m talking about the ones who are taking this whole little elf theme and having fun with it, dreaming up clever new scenarios for the elves to charm their kids. Are these bad people? I submit that they are not.

The mommies who are having fun with the elf thing are NOT doing it to irritate you. They are not secretly thinking that if only you did the elf thing, you would be a better parent and your child would have more success in the future. Well, maybe they’re thinking some of that, but who cares? You shouldn’t. It doesn’t affect you. It isn’t about you. It’s about them having fun and sharing the fun with others. If you feel bad about it that’s your issue, not theirs.

In short:

1. The elf is kind of creepy

2. Having him in your home is sort of like harboring the enemy during wartime

3. If you don’t want to do it, don’t

4. If you’re already doing it but don’t like it, stop

5. If other people are enjoying it, leave them alone

That’s it. Regardless of whether Santa’s elves are watching you or not, be nice. Today, tomorrow, always.